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ballen0351

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I was reading a story comparing the murder of the baby in Brunswick Ga to other recent popular news reports. I won't post it since it used less then acceptable language but it got me thinking First I didn't even know about the Ga shooting and how disgusting it was and 2nd what makes the news pick one story to play over and over and over every day and others not so much. I know we got some brilliant folks on here so I was wondering if there was some formula or statically proven method of what's popular news and what's not.
 

billc

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The horribleness of the crime...coupled with the race of the perpetrators is probably what took the story off the main stream news coverage...
 
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ballen0351

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I was shocked I didn't even know about it. Now I admit I stopped watching the news a long time ago but I normally know about cases like that. The kids while family and a city council member have been arrested and I never heard of it.
 

Carol

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There is a lot of statistical information that goes in to a broadcast outlet's audience/target audience, and its actually the target audience (or perception thereof) that drives the content. Its been awhile since I was in broadcasting but even when I was in it, there was market research that would take a broadcast outlet's Arbitron (radio) or Nielsen (TV) ratings and use the resulting calculations for all kinds of data mining...such as detailing how many people in the outlet's target audience would be in the market for a diamond ring this year. Information such as that was used to attract ad campaigns for jewelry stores. I remember helping a sales exec with the "diamond ring" ad campaign somewhere around 1995 (I left broadcasting for telecom in 1996), data bases and data mining have gotten a lot more sophisticated since then.

Broadcasting outlets have a target audience. Who that target audience is may vary. It may be women 25-54, it may be men 18-34, it may be everyone 18-54. The target audience is hardly ever "everyone" (meaning all viewers age 12 and over). However, since this category is the most widely reported in the press, it is frequently referred to as the "beauty contest", and winning the "beauty contest" is a highly prized accomplishment.

Once an outlet defines their target audience, they tailor their content to meet that audience to attract ad buys from organizations hoping to capture that audience. You'll notice that the categories that I mention focus on young adults or young-to-middle-aged adults. These are very popular categories with advertisers, ergo they become popular target audiences for broadcasters.

The big money in broadcasting (salary-wise) is with the program directors that can study the demographics of whatever target market the outlet serves, and deliver content that the target market will enjoy consuming. You can see the influence of younger people in the categories, this has been an influential factor in the sensationalism of news outlets. Unfortunately this often produces a lowest-common-denominator approach. "If it bleeds, it leads" has been a saying that's been around since the 1970s.

Radio and TV news is a game of seconds. "Sound bytes" came from the practice of editing quotes as tightly as possible, portraying a central idea in the fewest amount of seconds. The fewer seconds required to tell a story, the more seconds would remain available to tell another story, which could do more to solidify an audience.

So...I think Bill's comment is dead on. Take a shocking story (baby murder), add a racial element (black man allegedly kills white baby). Take a photo of the perp, plus a photo of the baby, add the word "murder" on the bottom and you have a story that can be told in a second or two just from the picture. While I have never heard race discussed in the broadcast arena, I have heard spending power discussed many times. The wealthier part of a target audience is generally the more attractive to advertisers -- wealthier usually means more money to spend (or more frequent opportunities to buy) the advertiser's product. How that relates to race is not something I have ever heard discussed. However, I could speculate....as I'm sure all of you could as well.
 

granfire

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same with the story on the missing girl, white, preferably blond, good looking...insta hit.

black? meh.
Same with Nancy Grace and her lineup...

While there might not be a lot out there in terms of racial profiling regarding audience ( you KNOW it is happening) it's out there.
I think - with the exception of the sports millionairs (many of whom are only one signing bonus away from trouble) the majority of buying power is still held by - yep, them there pale people.
 
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